Adult Learn to Row Program

Have you always been intrigued by rowing? Perhaps you have watched Olympic rowing. Perhaps you have seen rowers on the water. Maybe now is the time to give it a try.

Rowing is the perfect sport for people who want to get a full body workout but hate going to the gym. It is low impact and sculling involves little twisting, so it is easy on the body.

Over the course of 5 weeks, we will teach you the basics of rowing. Having completed Learn to Row, a natural followup would be to participate in Adult Recreational Rowing.


Rowers have to carry their share of a rowing shell. This can involve lifting a weight of up to 50 lbs.

There is a low probability of the rowing shell flipping. Rowers preferably know how to swim. At the very least, rowers should be comfortable enough with deep water that they won't panic and will be able to hold on to the shell until they are assisted by the coach.


The Learn to Row program is conducted over 5 weeks. You can choose either the weeks of April 29, 2024 through May 31, 2024 or you can choose the weeks of June 3, 2024 through July 5, 2024. Each week you will attend 2 evening sessions.

You can choose to take the program on Mondays & Wednesdays from 6:30 - 8:30 PM. Alternatively, you can take the program on Tuesdays & Thursdays from 6:00 - 8:00 PM.

Each session is 2 hours long and includes time to set up, launch, land, clean and put away the shells.

It is your responsibility to attend the scheduled sessions. Please do not sign up if you have vacation or will otherwise be away during the sessions, as it will compromise the learning experience for other group members. If you choose not to attend a session, we are not obligated to reschedule the session, but we will try to accommodate sickness and other events out of your control. If the session is cancelled due to weather or by the rowing club, we will reschedule subject to group availability.

Sessions are not scheduled on statutory holidays, because the cove tends to be very busy. Sessions that would otherwise occur on the holiday are re-scheduled to a day and time that is mutually convenient for the group and coach.

If the above schedule does not work for you, you might consider taking private lessons instead. It costs slightly more, but you get personalized attention and lessons can be scheduled at your convenience subject to coach availability.


The Learn to Row program costs $400. The price includes an equipment levy and taxes. It does not include Rowing Canada fees (see Registration).

You can pay the club directly in advance or at the first session. We accept payment via credit card, debit card, e-transfer, cheque or cash.


Before you register for Learn to Row, send an email to or call 604-929-4510 to confirm availability and to get any questions answered.

Registration is a two step process: filling out the forms in the registration package and registering with Rowing Canada.

Please fill out the forms and bring them to your first session.

It is imperative that you register with Rowing Canada on their membership web site. Rowing Canada provides insurance and support services to rowers and clubs. Most important from your perspective is the insurance coverage. Unless you register with Rowing Canada, you are not covered by insurance. To row with the Deep Cove Rowing Club, you must have an active membership with Rowing Canada. An annual membership runs from April of each year to March of the following year. A membership covers you for all programs at all rowing clubs in Canada. You must sign up again each year to continue rowing. There is a fee and you can either pay it on the Rowing Canada web site or you can pay it to us and we will pass it on to Rowing Canada for you.

You can access the registration forms and the Rowing Canada membership web site using the two buttons at the bottom of this program information list.

Refund Policy

If you withdraw from the program (in writing) before it begins or before the second week, you may receive a refund, minus a $25 processing fee. In lieu of a refund, you may defer your fees to another program which takes place within a year.

If you withdraw after the second week, there will be no refund. You may defer the remainder of your fees to another program which takes place within a calendar year.

We unfortunately do not have any control over the Rowing Canada fees, so they can't be refunded or deferred.


A typical Learn to Row program consists of 4 new rowers. Depending on the number of people who have registered, there may be more or fewer rowers in the group.

Each group is assigned a dedicated coach. If the group gets too large, it may be split up into two groups depending on coach availability. If a second coach is not available, registration will be capped.

Rower progress may be slower than normal in larger groups. Don't worry. If necessary, we will schedule additional sessions to ensure that you achieve the desired level of proficiency.

Boat Assignment

The Learn to Row program is normally conducted in a quad (4 person) rowing shell. If there are more or fewer than 4 rowers, we can also row a quad with only 3 people. Double (2 person) and single (1 person) shells may be used with pontoons.

The coach will assign rowers to a shell based on numbers of rowers, current water conditions and desired learning outcomes.

Course Content

During the program, you will learn the following:

  • rowing terminology
  • parts of the rowing shell
  • setting up the rowing shell
  • launching the shell
  • landing the shell
  • the 4 parts (catch, drive, finish, recovery) of the stroke
  • how to hold and position the oar for each part of the stroke
  • position and movement of the body and arms during each part of the stroke
  • coordination of timing with other rowers
  • control of shell balance
  • steering, turning and stopping
  • safety

The rowing stroke has some similarity to a golf swing. You can learn the basics in a few sessions, but precision and maximum effectiveness can take years to master. Rowing is rather more difficult to learn than say kayaking, but you will experience a sense of accomplishment when you reach the point where you are moving the shell effectively.


We launch shells from a gravel beach. You will have to wade into the water to mid shin depth. Wear foot and lower leg wear that you don't mind getting wet. The gravel is rough and there are barnacles, so some type of footwear is necessary. Flip-flops are not a good idea, because they do not stay on. Neoprene and rubber kayak shoes, plastic clogs or even boots work well.

Dress in layers. Clothing should be snug. Loose shorts or pants will get caught in between the seat and the slides. Loose tops will catch the oar handles. There should be no open pockets on the front of the torso to prevent the oar handles from catching. We row if there is rain.

The program does not require strenuous effort. Nevertheless, you may wish to bring water.

Registration - Step 1

Fill out the necessary forms


Registration - Step 2

Register with Rowing Canada

Rowing Canada

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